The chain still has quality management and strong retention rates.
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Rapid economic growth doesn't happen in a vacuum, and we're only beginning to see the cost of China's success.
China's red-hot growth in 2009 was great for the global economy, and Chinese stocks helped investors cash in big-time. But now that we've turned the page on 2010, we're learning that annual GDP growth of double-digits doesn't happen on its own.
If you want a raw story of the cost of growth, just read a recent Reuters piece about how 30 million "sexually repressed" migrant workers in China's export hub Guangdong are making a mess of things. Local officials are pleading with the government to assist them in an effort to keep rampant STDs under control and help mend the social fabric of the community.
There are very serious consequences coming to roost in the People's Republic right now -- from fears of real estate and stock bubbles to growing social unrest to the specter of hyperinflation.
Because of problems in Lisbon and Athens, Visa's and Cisco's strong numbers will be questioned.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Just giving you the only view that matters these days, the view that makes 2010 so hard: Europe's a mess and a competitive mess that makes people think our house is more in order than we thought.
You sell the stocks of the house that's in the best order.
Carol Bartz will get a big bonus -- if she can keep the company's share price high enough for the next 20 trading days.
By Jim Woods, InvestorPlace
We've heard a lot about big bonuses recently. Banking execs, brokerage bigwigs and AIG all have taken heat for receiving some serious largess from their respective companies.
The public and government officials have been outraged at these bonuses, especially because many of these institutions had to be saved last year by taxpayers. But is there a better way to pay out big bucks?
According to one Wall Street analyst, Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz could be ready to receive a $10 million bonus of sorts -- but only if she can keep the share price high enough for the next 20 trading days.
The technology giant surprises Wall Street with solid earnings as revenue climbs.
The company reported earnings of 40 cents a share Wednesday for the quarter that ended in January (its second quarter of fiscal 2010). That was 5 cents a share better than Wall Street projections.
Tech stocks had already finished strong for the day before Cisco reported. The positive surprise could be enough to keep what was one of the weakest sectors in January on the mend. (For more on the January slide in the technology sector and what it means for the market as a whole, see this recent post.)
NASA could become little more than an air traffic controller, creating huge opportunities for Lockheed Martin.
By Richard Band, InvestorPlace.com
Lost amid the budget battle on Capitol Hill is the fact that Obama's proposed budget effectively killed George W. Bush's dreams to get Americans back on the moon by 2020.
As part of his $3.8 trillion spending proposal, Obama wants to cancel the Constellation program, a bold space exploration program that called for a return to the moon on new spacecrafts and booster vehicles.
According to government documents released on Sunday, Obama's budget instead proposes spending $6 billion over five years to develop a commercial spacecraft that could ferry astronauts into orbit.
LaHood backs off of a suggestion that owners of recalled Toyotas stop driving the cars. What was behind the remark?
But that's what Ray LaHood did on Wednesday, although he later backed off and called his comments "obviously a misstatement." He meant to say that Toyota (TM) owners should take their cars to dealerships for examination. Or so he claims.
How do you mess up something like that? That's a pretty damaging thing to say, even for a company like Toyota, which has already done plenty to damage its reputation. Is there something more nefarious going on here?
The common kiosks frustrate shoppers, but you can make some money by investing in them.
Because I hate waiting, and when I see a long line for a human cashier but no line for the automated checkout, it gets me every time. I hope against hope that I won't have to call for help when the system doesn't recognize a bagged item or when the price scans incorrectly or when I buy wine or when I can't find the darn code for oyster mushrooms. And I'm usually wrong.
So did I cheer, just a little, when one man smashed a kiosk with a crowbar? Ahem. At any rate, these little monsters aren't going away. So how about getting even by investing in them? Investopedia lists some ways.
The world's top automaker takes another blow to its reputation.
By Joseph Woelfel, The Street
Toyota (TM), the world's No. 1 automaker, can't catch a break, as brake problems are now being reported on its popular Prius hybrid.
Toyota has received more than 100 complaints in the U.S. and Japan about brake problems with the Prius, The Associated Press reports.
The international segment is humming. If the US rebounds, you'll have a $98 stock.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
Here's the problem with the double-dip thesis: Whirlpool (WHR).
This appliance company is actually emblematic of a host of American corporations that have simply become too international to be considered domestic, and they're doing just well enough internationally that if the U.S. ever kicks in, you're going to pay 14 times a $7 number and have a $98 stock.
Yesterday's quarter was pretty breathtaking, with a business that the Street endlessly wanted Whirlpool to give up on, Brazil, causing a big upside surprise.
The Hollywood post-production facility will join H.I.G. Capital.
A deal has been signed, but official confirmation is not expected until it closes in the coming weeks. Under the agreement, LaserPacific will be affiliated with a family of post-production companies under H.I.G.
"This is a strategic decision to better position Laser while affording Kodak the opportunity to continue to participate in post-production services," David Lanzillo, a spokesman for Kodak, told TheWrap.
The brothers may partner with 2 hedge funds to reclaim the studio they founded in 1979.
In what may be the final dramatic twist for Miramax, the Weinstein brothers are circling their old studio with an eye toward buying it back from the Walt Disney Co.
Two hedge funds have approached brothers Harvey and Bob Weinstein about teaming up to buy the studio, according to an individual with knowledge of the plan.
Such a deal would make some sense. The studio has gone into decline since the Weinsteins parted ways with Disney in 2005, and the parent company has shown little enthusiasm or acumen for capturing the magic that brought indelible films like “The English Patient,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love” to American culture.
The company announces a restructuring and gets a new loan as revenue falls.
But nothing yet indicates the decisive turn in the company's business that I've been looking for. The best I can say is that it feels closer.
First, at the end of October, the company announced a restructuring, scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2010, that would merge the existing GulfMark Offshore with a wholly owned subsidiary, New GulfMark Offshore, in order to limit the percentage of stock owned or controlled by non-U.S. citizens to a maximum of 22%.
Though AAPL is mum on who its suppliers are for iPad processors, my money is on ARM Holdings.
With its iPad tablet computer, Apple (AAPL) has once again proved the power of its strategy:
- Step 1: Develop cool product ideas at the forefront of technology.
- Step 2: Keep the gadget under wraps to build up a buzz.
- Step 3: Unveil it to great fanfare -- and booming sales.
This is a story investors are quite familiar with, and Wall Street does everything but wiretap Steve Jobs' iPhone to get the inside scoop on the next big Apple item. So how do you cash in once AAPL has already made its splash -- as it has with the iPad?
Is this once-hot stock ready to take off again? I think so.
Many of you know I've been extremely bullish on Sirius XM Radio (SIRI) for quite some time, through good times and bad.
I think the bad is over.
My passion for the company's future has never wavered, even during a brush with death that nearly destroyed shareholder equity.
Starting with a buy recommendation in 2003, when shares were worth a mere $1 per share, I rode the stock to its peak of nearly $10 per share in late 2004 and early 2005. During the ride, I suggested that shares would reach my target of $20 per share as the company exploited huge growth opportunities.
Even as shares plunged over the three years beginning in 2006, I believed in the company. Time was all this company needed to win out in its death battle with XM Radio.
Even if big changes come out of Washington, these companies could thrive.
By Jon Ogg, InvestorPlace.com
Everyone wants to know which sectors are likely to be immune to political changes -- and which stocks from those sectors will actually thrive under Obama's budget and political and social ambitions.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at the various sectors of the financial markets to see which companies might be immune to or at least far away from the focus and criticism of any current Washington trends.
All companies have implied market risks tied to them, but there are several stocks that seem likely to survive, and even thrive, under the current administration's plans.
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- Jan crude oil traded in negative territory today, slipping to a session low of $96.26 per barrel in morning pit action. Prices rose to a session high of $97.05 per barrel but pulled back heading into the close. The energy component eventually settled 1.0% lower at $96.53 per barrel, bringing losses for the week to 1.2%.
- Jan natural gas rose to a session high of $4.44 per MMBtu in late morning pit trade but slipped back into the red as the session progressed. ... More
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